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3 arrested over fraudulent redemptions of SingapoRediscovers Vouchers; travel agency faces suspension

3 arrested over fraudulent redemptions of SingapoRediscovers Vouchers; travel agency faces suspension

Continental Travel Singapore located at People's Park Complex. (Photo: Continental Travel Singapore's Facebook)

SINGAPORE: Three people linked to travel agency Continental Travel have been arrested for their suspected involvement in fraudulent redemptions of SingapoRediscovers Vouchers.

The suspects allegedly engaged in cashback arrangements by offering customers cash for redeeming their vouchers through the purchase of local tours from the agency, said the police on Friday (Oct 15).

This is not allowed under the SingapoRediscovers Vouchers scheme, the police noted.

The scheme was introduced last December to support local tourism businesses hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Singaporeans aged 18 and above in 2020 received S$100 in vouchers, which can be used on eligible products such as tours, attractions and hotel stays offered by authorised merchants.

The three suspects were arrested on Sep 27.

The police said they take a "serious view" of any attempt to defraud government support schemes, adding that investigations are ongoing.

In a media advisory, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said it has issued Continental Travel Singapore with a notice of intent to suspend its travel agent licence. 

Continental Travel Singapore has also been removed from the SingapoRediscover Vouchers scheme and will not be allowed to accept new bookings involving the vouchers. 

"Existing SingapoRediscover Vouchers bookings that are legitimate will not be affected and pre-booked experiences can still proceed as planned," said STB.

The travel agency has 14 days to appeal against the suspension notice.

"Continental Travel Singapore will still be required to carry out all existing obligations to its consumers and industry partners, including ensuring that all existing bookings, regardless of whether they involve the use of SingapoRediscover Vouchers, are not affected during the notice period and any subsequent suspension period," said STB.

It added that the agency is also required to inform all customers of the notice to suspend its travel agent licence. 

STB reminded citizens that the SingapoRediscover Vouchers are meant for personal use only and that reselling or exchanging the vouchers for cash is strictly not allowed.

"STB conducts regular checks to ensure the SingapoRediscover Vouchers are used for their intended purposes and will not hesitate to take action against businesses or individuals that abuse the SingapoRediscover Vouchers scheme," it said.

The tourism board also reminded Singaporeans that bookings for the SingapoRediscover Vouchers can be made through five authorised partners’ platforms - Changi Recommends, GlobalTix, Klook, Traveloka and Trip.com.

Those who require help with digital transactions can get assistance at 34 community clubs and centres located around Singapore, as well as selected malls, attractions and SingPost locations.

Source: CNA/ng(gs)

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